Pellet Grills

Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
21,699
Location
Idaho
My son-in-law has a Camp Chef pellet grill and loves it. They invite us over often to eat his yummy creations!! He even smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving and it was so good. I've been trying to talk Greg into getting a pellet smoker, but he would just rather go out and eat Jason's food. My daughter does some delicious mac and cheese on the smoker. I'll have to ask him why type of wood her likes best.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
2,765
Location
Winter Haven, florida
Sous Vide is not something I have explored. The technique sounds basically full proof.
You guys are really making me hungry.
Sous vide is essentially fool proof, as you said. It is really easy to try. Just take a steak and put it in a plastic bag- squeeze the air out.
Hang the bag on the side of a cooler and pour 135F water in. Check the water every hour or two, add hot water as needed to keep it 130-35. 2-4 hours.
Then sear on a hot skillet or grill 2min a side. done. Open wine.
gary
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
21,699
Location
Idaho
I have a Pit Boss vertical smoker and absolutely love it!! For grilling I have a "traditional" gas grill ... and I'm looking forward to it dying so I'll have an excuse to get a Traeger or something similar that offers both grilling and smoking.

Top thing we smoke ... prime rib. I'll use a thermometer to bring the internal temp to about 120ºF, then bring it in to a 500ºF oven for 5-10 minutes just to brown up the exterior. Just mouth watering!!
View attachment 1678336

I use mostly Alder pellets. The smoky taste is pretty mild, but that's my wife's preference. It works well for all kinds of meats - beef, pork and chicken. It's also wonderful for her fish (I don't like seafoods). Since there's a lot of alder in western Washington, if you buy firewood for a camp fire it's usually what you get. So the odor coming from the smoker congers up all sorts of good vibes.

Enjoy!!

Ken
That looks so good!!
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,490
Location
GA
I have the Camp Chef SG24 and absolutely love it. chose it over the traeger and pitboss for several reasons but the ash cleanout is the biggest benefit in my opinion.

couple of tips/tricks:
1. Don't worry about sealing the lid, there is a little bit of a gap that occurs on all of them. If you want to you can, but i've had mine since May and I don't have issues with temp swings because of that small gap.
2. The one thing i did seal was the hopper lid just to reduce possible moisture getting in. I have left mine in for weeks at a time here in the south during the summer months and been fine. However, I don't recommend leaving it in there all the time if you know you won't be cooking.
3. For pellets, i've found the camp chef pellets to work the best. I have a few Traeger brand from Home Depot and i'm just not a fan of them. I haven't tried others but i've heard good things about the Lumberjack pellets and BBQ'er Delight. Camp Chef and a few others sell Char Pellets that include some charcoal in the blend to give it that flavor. Haven't tried it yet but definitely want to.
4. Big fan of Apple, Cherry and Hickory pellets. I find the competition/signature blends to be a little too overpowering in a negative way. Camp Chef's version was fine, Traeger's is horrible (in my opinion). for beef I like to combine hickory & cherry and for pork I like to do straight apple.
5. I haven't found much of a need for the blanket but this is based on your climate. Here in GA we can get down to 20-30's and i've cooked in those temps just fine.
6. Definitely look into an Inkbird thermometer vs. the on-board one. It's not bad, but it's not great either. Doesn't hurt to have multiples anyways.
7. Don't operate the grill when it is windy. The pellets burn from the burner plus some airflow and if that airflow gets impeded it can cause a flame out (ask me how I know) and that's not good.

I did quite a bit of research here and have some decent experience using mine so feel free to reach out and ask questions.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
3,515
Location
Tacoma, WA
Real Name
Ken St John
Like I said, I spent a lot of time looking and researching pellet grills. I am the first in my group of friends to have one so I didn't have any direct contact or experience with them (except for one who uses a Traeger in his restaurant. He's had several problems with his.). I guess it's all relative and problems will pop up with every brand from time to time. I've never seen alder but will look for it. My local TSC seems to have the best selection and price on pellets. My go to is hickory and apple. I'm looking forward to trying peach and pecan.
Perhaps surprisingly, check Amazon. I order my Traeger Alder from them ... competitive price and I don't have to lug it around a store!!

Ken
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
2,002
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
I have the Camp Chef SG24 and absolutely love it. chose it over the traeger and pitboss for several reasons but the ash cleanout is the biggest benefit in my opinion.

couple of tips/tricks:
1. Don't worry about sealing the lid, there is a little bit of a gap that occurs on all of them. If you want to you can, but i've had mine since May and I don't have issues with temp swings because of that small gap.
2. The one thing i did seal was the hopper lid just to reduce possible moisture getting in. I have left mine in for weeks at a time here in the south during the summer months and been fine. However, I don't recommend leaving it in there all the time if you know you won't be cooking.
3. For pellets, i've found the camp chef pellets to work the best. I have a few Traeger brand from Home Depot and i'm just not a fan of them. I haven't tried others but i've heard good things about the Lumberjack pellets and BBQ'er Delight. Camp Chef and a few others sell Char Pellets that include some charcoal in the blend to give it that flavor. Haven't tried it yet but definitely want to.
4. Big fan of Apple, Cherry and Hickory pellets. I find the competition/signature blends to be a little too overpowering in a negative way. Camp Chef's version was fine, Traeger's is horrible (in my opinion). for beef I like to combine hickory & cherry and for pork I like to do straight apple.
5. I haven't found much of a need for the blanket but this is based on your climate. Here in GA we can get down to 20-30's and i've cooked in those temps just fine.
6. Definitely look into an Inkbird thermometer vs. the on-board one. It's not bad, but it's not great either. Doesn't hurt to have multiples anyways.
7. Don't operate the grill when it is windy. The pellets burn from the burner plus some airflow and if that airflow gets impeded it can cause a flame out (ask me how I know) and that's not good.

I did quite a bit of research here and have some decent experience using mine so feel free to reach out and ask questions.

No problem with wind. and since 2012 when I took delivery of the PG1000 have never come close to a flame out, wind has never been an issue . One of the diff between Cookshacks PG500 and the PG1000 is that the PG1000 is fully insulated. No need for any type of thermal blanket. In fact the issue that I have particularly in summer is that if I get a little hot and initially over the desired temp, I have to raise the lid to bleed of a little heat. This only happens at the start but it means I spend more time making sure that I get a stable temp with appropriate swings prior to putting on the meat.

Not sure where in Ga you are but Academy sports carries BBQ delight pellets and will occasionally get notifications of group buy on Lumberjack Pellets.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,490
Location
GA
Not sure where in Ga you are but Academy sports carries BBQ delight pellets and will occasionally get notifications of group buy on Lumberjack Pellets.
Over in the East Cobb area...i haven't checked Academy in a while but definitely want to see what they carry.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
4,032
Location
OH - IO
Real Name
Mike
Probably my favorite are pork butts. Will brine them two days in large trash bag placed in a strofoam cooler, add water, cup of sugar and cup kosher salt, and then empty a bag of ice over it. 48 hrs later take out , rinse, dry and apply a dry rub. Usually if have the time like to put back in the frig overnight then bring out next day add little more rub and start the smoking process. Usualy bone in butts take about 12-14 hrs at 215. Once done let rest for a bit and then remove the bone and start the pulling process. We prefer pulled much more than sliced. We normally cook two butts at. a time so that we are sure to have plenty of leftovers. Will partition the leftovers into a number of double and single servings and vacuum seal the bags and freeze. If I want a sandwich I'll just take one of the bags and place in a pot of boiling water to heat it up. It seems that when we store and later reheat there is a slight intensification of the smoke flavor. Hungry need to check the freezer to see if we still have some from last cook.
I rarely fire up a smoker if it's not going to be full. Smoked meats are great when they've been portioned, vacuum sealed and frozen. I love ribs. Pulled pork is a close second. You can do so many things with a pork butt.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
4,032
Location
OH - IO
Real Name
Mike
You guys are really making me hungry.
Sous vide is essentially fool proof, as you said. It is really easy to try. Just take a steak and put it in a plastic bag- squeeze the air out.
Hang the bag on the side of a cooler and pour 135F water in. Check the water every hour or two, add hot water as needed to keep it 130-35. 2-4 hours.
Then sear on a hot skillet or grill 2min a side. done. Open wine.
gary
Or beer!
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
4,032
Location
OH - IO
Real Name
Mike
I have the Camp Chef SG24 and absolutely love it. chose it over the traeger and pitboss for several reasons but the ash cleanout is the biggest benefit in my opinion.

couple of tips/tricks:
1. Don't worry about sealing the lid, there is a little bit of a gap that occurs on all of them. If you want to you can, but i've had mine since May and I don't have issues with temp swings because of that small gap.
2. The one thing i did seal was the hopper lid just to reduce possible moisture getting in. I have left mine in for weeks at a time here in the south during the summer months and been fine. However, I don't recommend leaving it in there all the time if you know you won't be cooking.
3. For pellets, i've found the camp chef pellets to work the best. I have a few Traeger brand from Home Depot and i'm just not a fan of them. I haven't tried others but i've heard good things about the Lumberjack pellets and BBQ'er Delight. Camp Chef and a few others sell Char Pellets that include some charcoal in the blend to give it that flavor. Haven't tried it yet but definitely want to.
4. Big fan of Apple, Cherry and Hickory pellets. I find the competition/signature blends to be a little too overpowering in a negative way. Camp Chef's version was fine, Traeger's is horrible (in my opinion). for beef I like to combine hickory & cherry and for pork I like to do straight apple.
5. I haven't found much of a need for the blanket but this is based on your climate. Here in GA we can get down to 20-30's and i've cooked in those temps just fine.
6. Definitely look into an Inkbird thermometer vs. the on-board one. It's not bad, but it's not great either. Doesn't hurt to have multiples anyways.
7. Don't operate the grill when it is windy. The pellets burn from the burner plus some airflow and if that airflow gets impeded it can cause a flame out (ask me how I know) and that's not good.

I did quite a bit of research here and have some decent experience using mine so feel free to reach out and ask questions.
The ash clean out was a feature I noticed and liked!

I'll keep the grill out of the weather, as best I can. Humidity is a factor here too at times (Ohio).

I still don't understand how these things can have a flame out. If they have a "heat rod" for ignition, why wouldn't the pellets re-ignite if there was a flame out?
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
2,002
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
The ash clean out was a feature I noticed and liked!

I'll keep the grill out of the weather, as best I can. Humidity is a factor here too at times (Ohio).

I still don't understand how these things can have a flame out. If they have a "heat rod" for ignition, why wouldn't the pellets re-ignite if there was a flame out?
They do reignite and thats the problem. What happens is that it keeps adding pellets, creating lots of smoke contained in a closed environment. It becomes almost like a gas that can reignite . When it does , it can explode. I’ve seen where that happened on a pit and blew the lid and sides out of the pit. If you have a flame out turn off the pit and empty the firepot. Let it cool down before restarting. Heres a video of a flame out that ended in an explosion.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
4,032
Location
OH - IO
Real Name
Mike
They do reignite and thats the problem. What happens is that it keeps adding pellets, creating lots of smoke contained in a closed environment. It becomes almost like a gas that can reignite . When it does , it can explode. I’ve seen where that happened on a pit and blew the lid and sides out of the pit. If you have a flame out turn off the pit and empty the firepot. Let it cool down before restarting. Heres a video of a flame out that ended in an explosion.
The idea of an "explosion" because of excessive smoke build up doesn't make sense to me. I've used wood fired and propane fired smokers for years. The point is to get smoke build up, at least for the first couple hours. I could understand bad pellets that might have an accelerant in them causing something like this. Even with that, most accelerants are not explosive unless they give of a gas or vapor. 🤔
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,490
Location
GA
I don't recall the exact reason but it has to do with unburned particles that can quickly ignite during the start up and cause a quick blow up which is why you're supposed to start up with the lid open. I didn't understand it myself until I read about the why and it made sense.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
4,682
Location
Redwood City, CA
I used to smoke meats over a variety of woods and briquettes, but the process put too much pollution in the air. Now I sous vide tri-tip and insta-pot ribs to complete success. I grill frequently on a Lodge cast iron grill pan and a couple of times a year (when air quality allows) I grill on a Weber. Smoked meats were giving me heartburn anyway, so I the only problem is getting rid of the old equipment.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
2,002
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
The idea of an "explosion" because of excessive smoke build up doesn't make sense to me. I've used wood fired and propane fired smokers for years. The point is to get smoke build up, at least for the first couple hours. I could understand bad pellets that might have an accelerant in them causing something like this. Even with that, most accelerants are not explosive unless they give of a gas or vapor. 🤔
I just know that on my own pit, that it does not ignite piecemeal. By that i mean that you dont see small flames , then larger until the complete firepot is lit. With mine I see a heavy build up of smoke and then in an instant a very loud woosh, and instantly no more smoke but the whole firepot is ablaze. One of the reasons when starting all manufacturers indicate lid should be open. Food grade pellets do not have an accelerants in them. It’s not just smoke it’s the accumulation of smouldering pellets that ignite as a whole in an instant.
 
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